Conviction of rights lawyer for helping terror client communicate upheld

[JURIST] A federal judge Tuesday upheld the conviction [JURIST report] of civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart [defense website] for conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists (18 USC 2339A), denying a post-trial motion for acquittal. Stewart was convicted [JURIST video] in February for helping imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman [Wikipedia profile] communicate with his terrorist followers. Stewart had argued that Abdel-Rahman was engaging in protected speech when he expressed opinions about an Egyptian ceasefire which Stewart passed along in a press release, but Judge John G. Koeltl said that "The First Amendment lends no protection to participation in a conspiracy, even if such participation is through speech." Stewart was also convicted of defrauding the government for violating rules that had been put in place to prevent Abdel-Rahman from communicating with the outside world following his 1995 conviction of seditious conspiracy for plotting to blow up several New York city landmarks. Koeltl ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support those charges and also rejected Stewart's request for a new trial. Stewart has said she will appeal. Stewart's defense website provides legal documents in the case. AP has more.

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